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Why Did Google Answers Shut Down?  (View post)

sctronlinux [PersonRank 1]

Thursday, August 9, 2007
15 years ago6,914 views

Why don't Google set up Google Wiki? I think wiki is better than Google Answers.

Ricardo Sanchez [PersonRank 2]

15 years ago #

What annoys me is, that given Google huge infrastructure, they didn't keep a service that was almost free to maintain, as it would not incur in huge traffic bills.

Google Answer was a very socially involved service, very helpful to the (few) people willing to pay for it, it's a shame they closed it.

I believe that probably, Google was not too confortable acting as a monetary intermediate between askers and researchers. If this was the case, why didn't they turn it in a free service, ala Yahoo? The inertia would had keep it higher quality than Yahoo's, but probably researchers would have vocally complained.

Google offers other rather useless services, which seem to generate a higher cost in traffic bills, like Google Web Accelerator. (Anybody uses this? Does it really accelerates web page loads?) But I guess the aggregated data about its users it generates is of enough value to keep paying it cost.

All in all, it seems that Google is about offering free services that generate a lot of aggregated data and user trends for they to analyze: Gmail, Analytics, Web History... Answers didn't produce much useful information and statistics to Google so they ditched it.

Adam Lasnik [PersonRank 2]

15 years ago #

sctronlinux, we WILL be offering wiki services (from our acquisition of Jotspot) :-).

Ricardo Sanchez, from chats with my colleagues about the former Google Answers service, I know the decision to discontinue it was not made lightly or without considerable discussion.

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

[put at-character here]Adam, Will we we an official post soon about Google Wiki's? We've all wondered when Jotspot would be released to anyone with a Google Account.

Adam Lasnik [PersonRank 2]

15 years ago #

Hey Colin,

Latest info is here:

I have my own (personal) jotspot, so I am also really looking forward to Jot getting integrated into Google Apps! :)

Vladimiras Lekecinskas [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

What do you think about Google Russia launching the same Google Answers service (re-done in a very Yahoo way) for Russia?

Elliotte [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

>>Marissa: But the idea, she says, is to encourage risk-taking and let surviving products truly thrive. ’We anticipate that we’re going to throw out a lot of products,’ says Mayer. ’But [people] will remember the ones that really matter and the ones that have a lot of user potential.’

So it sounds to me like the subtext to this approach is that if something does not succeed relatively quickly, you move on, rather than stick around and put in the effort needed to truly create something great.

To me, it feels like mining for gold by digging thousands of 10 centimeter holes in the ground. "Whoops, no gold in this 10 centimeter hole!" they would say, "Time to move on and start digging another hole."

Maybe if they stuck around, and dug a 10 meter hole, they might actually start finding gold. Right now they're just skimming a thousand surfaces, and naturally not finding anything.

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Thanks Adam!

folone [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Russian users have Google Answers at

GrantParish [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I thought Google Answers was a great service and I was very disappointed to see it close. I am thrilled to learn about as an alternative.

Hong Xiaowan [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Yes, we want Google Wikipedia.

Adam Hoier [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

I think it would have worked, if it was opened more, to where anyone could answer/ask, without the price.

Then again, what would be the seperation from "Google Groups" since the two would be so very similar.

Sometimes it's entertaining to log into Y! Answers or Live QnA to just answer some questions...sometimes there are good ones, but most of the time it's strange, opinionated questions, like "What should I get for my birthday?" or whatever....those are annoying and pointless hehe.

Andy Hilal [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

There doesn't need to be a big dramatic juicy reason why something like this happens. You might say that sure, Google has the resources to have kept its Google Answers servers online forever, but in reality any project like this has ongoing and real costs either in resources, distraction, personnel churn, not to mention how the product reflects on the company.

Perhaps Google just found over time that this service was a neat idea but against their grain more and more. Perhaps it was a hot potato behind the scenes, something they had trouble keeping staff passionate about managing. Perhaps the codebase was particularly hairy and hard to keep working. Lord knows it wouldn't be the first product cooked up in a hurry and not built to last. Any product where you pay community members has accounting, tax, and legal overhead to file as well. Eventually, all these little problems add up and you have to make a call whether to re-invest or let go.

And if the decision is NOT to re-invest, the question becomes whether to let go now or later. Maybe the timing raised a few eyebrows but I don't know what to think about it. Maybe Google embraced defeat faced with the overwhelming pageview stats generated by Y! Answers, but I highly doubt it. Everyone knows that Google Answers had some passionate participants and it would be unlike Google to acknowledge a competitor and cede a market to them publicly. It's completely true that the two products' similarities END with their names. If anything, I surmise that Google had 1000 different reasons to close the service.

Perhaps they paused and wondered if, by closing it, they'd lead people to think they were bowing down to Yahoo!. I think it's incredibly unlikely they care at all if anyone thinks that. Perhaps some do, and I'm sure the folks at Google are content to let them think what they want.

Eileen [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I'm a former GA.

I wrote a post about my thoughts on why it shut down in my blog entitled "It’s my Fault Google Answers is Being Shelved".

I think part of the reason is sociological, not necessarily something Google could correct. I answered questions before Google Answers was around and am doing it now that it's been archived, without pay.

Yong Su Kim [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Although Google ultimately shut down Google Answers, I think it was a great concept. Many people utilized Google Answers and asked a lot of questions where they offered pretty large rewards for answers. There were some inherent challenges in the Google Answers model which limited widespread adoption but then again, Google never promoted it as much as Yahoo did with Yahoo Answers.

I also wanted to mention our site ( which has elements taken from Google and Yahoo Answers. We recently launched our site and we provide a knowledge marketplace powered by questions and answers.

The easiest way to describe it is to say we're like the eBay for knowledge exchange. Anyone can post a question and anyone can answer a question. Users can also post monetary rewards and award it to users who provide the best answer.

We now have over a thousand questions and we are growing rapidly. It would be great to get some of the Google Answers Researchers to participate since they had some great knowledge that could help out user base.

[Fixed link – Tony]

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